Christmas is approaching, and to us that can only mean 300 things, but today it’s Stir-up Sunday. Stir-up Sunday is an informal term in Anglican churches for the last Sunday before the First Sunday of Advent.

It is a tradition that harks back to Victorian times when the family would gather together to stir the Christmas pudding five weeks before Christmas. The opening words of the Book Of Common Prayer, used on the last Sunday before Advent, reads: "Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people," so the tradition stands that this is the day to get stirring!

Why not try making your own Christmas pudding this year, with this easy recipe.


225g/8oz golden caster sugar

225g/8oz vegetarian suet

340g/12oz sultanas

340g/12oz raisins

225g/8oz currents

110g/4oz candied peel, chopped

110g/4oz plain flour

110g/4oz fresh white breadcrumbs

55g/2oz flaked almonds

1 lemon, zest only

5 eggs, beaten

1 level tsp ground cinnamon

1 level tsp mixed spice

5g/1 level tsp freshly grated nutmeg

pinch of salt

150ml/5fl oz brandy or rum


Lightly grease 4x600ml/1 pint or 2x1.2 litre/2 pint pudding basins.

Mix together all the dry ingredients.

Stir in the eggs and brandy and mix well.

Spoon the mix into basins. Put a circle of baking parchment and foil over the top of each basin and tie securely with string. Make a string handle from one side of the basin to the other so it is easier to pick the basin out of the pan after cooking.

Put the basins in a large steamer of boiling water and cover with a lid. Boil for 5-6 hours, topping the boiling water up from time to time, if necessary. If you do not have a steamer, put the basins in a large pan on inverted saucers on the base. Pour in boiling water to come a third of the way up the sides of the pudding bowls. Cover and steam as before.

Cool. Change the baking parchment and foil covers for fresh ones and tie up as before. Store in a cool cupboard until Christmas Day.

To serve, steam for 2 hours and serve with brandy butter, rum sauce, cream or homemade custard.